• 2013/9/3

Chiefs back finals know-how


The Chiefs believe enjoying the experience, not bowing to pressure, is the key to a successful Super Rugby title defence in the final against the Brumbies on Saturdayphone covers.

The Hamilton-based Chiefs will look to become just the fourth franchise to win successive Super Rugby crowns when they run out on their home groundWigs for Cancer Patients Bright Hopes.

The last side to win back-to-back trophies were the Bulls in 2009-2010 following successes for the Blues (1996-97) and the Crusaders (2005-06). The Crusaders also won a hat-trick of titles between 1998 and 2000.

Chiefs coach Dave Rennie believes the experience gained last year - and the fact they are once again playing in front of a sold-out Waikato Stadium - should stand them in good stead against a side in their first final since 2004.

"What we did learn was that you've got to enjoy what you're doing, rather than build up all the pressure on yourselves," said Renniecloud computing hong kong.

"But we know that we've got a high quality opposition and we need to be at our best again."

A second title would be a fitting farewell for Chiefs stalwarts Craig Clarke, Lelia Masaga, Richard Kahui, Brendon Leonard and Toby Smith.

It would also be an acknowledgment of the culture, work-ethic and talent that Rennie and his assistants Wayne Smith, Tom Coventry and Andrew Strawbridge have nurtured in just two seasons in charge.

"It's not about us coaches," said Rennie.

"We get a lot of kudos through the media about what this team has achieved. But really it's the players that go out there and do the job. They deserve huge raps for what's happened over the last 18 months or so."

Rennie believes the Brumbies under Jake White and his assistants Laurie Fisher and Stephen Larkham are not dissimilar.

"They've got a really strong culture and are a group of guys who believe in each other and play for each other," he said.

So although they lack finals experience - only George Smith and Clyde Rathbone have played in a Super Rugby final - and have endured a punishing travel schedule, the Brumbies still present a sizeable challenge.

Their game plan is based on set-piece accuracy, attacking the breakdown and playing for field position through the kicking of halfback Nic White, five-eighth Matt Toomua and fullback Jesse Mogg.

Larkham has hinted that they may change things up on Saturday night, but Rennie is convinced they won't deviate too far from their well-worn path.

"It will be a big call for them to play a completely different style of game," said the Chiefs coach.

"But, having said that, we randomise our trainings just in case the opposition throws something different at us.

"I think they've been successful through their ability to play territory and play at the right end of the field and strangle you through their set-piece. I'd be surprised if that changes."


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